Fairtrade Mango Chicken Curry

Fairtrade Fortnight this year is Monday 27 February to Sunday 12 March. The Fairtrade Foundation define Fairtrade as being about “better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers”.

I was inspired to make a dish to highlight mango which I wouldn’t necessarily consider as savoury or Fairtrade. I looked up a couple of recipes and then made this up. I’m so proud of it, it was delicious! Sweet, spicy and hot, just what I like! The sprig of coriander at the end really brings the dish to life.

This curry is free from dairy, soy, wheat, gluten and eggs.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A thumb of ginger chopped
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsps Fairtrade curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • a glug of Fairtrade white wine (approx 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2-1kg  chicken – I used thighs
  • 1 can Fairtrade coconut milk – I used full fat
  • 2 Fairtrade mangoes, chopped into chunks
  • 1 stock cube
img_0731
An easy way to chop up mango, just peel the cubes off the skin.

Method

  1. warm the vegetable oil to a high heat in a large heavy bottomed pan then brown the chicken for a couple of minutes each side, it’s easier to do this in batches. Set aside on a plate when done.
  2. Turn down the hob temperature then add the chopped onion to the pan, fry until translucent then add the ginger and garlic, fry for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the spices and mix until combined and warm through. Before they start to catch on the bottom add a good glug of white wine and stir. Let this cook for 5 minutes until it stops smelling vinegary.
  4. Add the tin of coconut milk and allow to melt in. Then add the mango, chicken and stock cube.
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with basmati rice and garnish with coriander.

Keep your eyes peeled for my next Fairtrade blog post which is going to be on something very dear to my heart – coffee!!!

If you’re interested in having lots of new healthy recipes, check out my meal plan pages, there may be a plan to suit you.

Fairtrade goods are available from most good supermarkets as well as www.ethicalsuperstore.com and www.steenbergs.co.uk as well as others.

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Vegetable, Barley and Bean Stew with Dumplings

This is a very nutritious, tasty and filling recipe that only costs about £4.30, that’s 72p per serving. It is full of fibre and is low Glycemic Index and will therefore not cause any spikes in your blood glucose. There are at least 4 portions of vegetables in here so you’re well on your way to meeting your target.

Prep: 20 minutes    Cook: 1 hour 5 minutes     Serves: 6 adults or 2 adults and 2 children twice

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions (chopped)
  • 3 flat mushrooms (chopped roughly)½
  • 6 small carrots (chopped into chunks)
  • 4 sticks of celery (chopped)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 x 400g tin of butter beans
  • stock cube
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
img_0903
I really like using flat mushrooms, they’re much easier and quicker to wash and chop and are full of flavour

Dumplings

  • 100g vegetable suet
  • 200g self raising flour
  • pinch salt
  • approx 10 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Method – Stew

  1. warm oil and fry onions until translucent, add mushrooms and fry for a further 5 minutes
  2. add the rest of the ingredients plus 1 ½ cans of water and stir
  3. bring to the boil and simmer for approx 45 minutes or until the vegetables and pearl barley are tender.

Method – Dumplings

  1. mix together the dry ingredients then add ½ the water and mix together (I used my hands), keep adding spoonfuls of cold water until the dough is soft and pliable.
  2. separate into 16 (ish) small balls and place on top of the simmering stew.
  3. shut the lid and they will be ready in approximately 20 minutes

Enjoy!

If you’re interested in stabilising your blood glucose, click here to read about my 7 day plan.

Should you be reducing your added sugar intake?

There are only 8 days left of Sugar Free February, I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough! It got me thinking – should we all be cutting out added sugar?

What is added sugar?

There are different sources of sugar in your diet. Sugar can either be intrinsic (ie within a food or drink) or extrinsic ie added to food or drink.

This infographic from The Rooted Project (original source) nicely summarises what is meant by added, free or extrinsic sugars.

free-sugars-rooted-project

How much sugar are we advised to eat per day?

The advice from the Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is to have no more than 5% of daily energy intake in free sugars per day. This equals:

  • 19g or 5 sugar cubes for children aged 4 to 6.
  • 24g or 6 sugar cubes for children aged 7 to 10.
  • 30g or 7 sugar cubes for 11 years and over, based on average population diets.

This seems like quite a lot until you start looking at labels and realise how much is added to savoury food as well as sweet.

Some people try to avoid it all together and the media now use terms such as addictive and describe sugar as the root of all our problems. But lets look at the whole picture.

How does added sugar effect the body?

When we consume free sugar it is broken down in the small intestine into glucose, fructose and galactose and is absorbed into the blood. This causes a rise in blood glucose which stimulates the production of insulin.

Why is this a problem?

Sugar is an excellent source of calories, there are 4 kcals in 1 g and although there are more in fat, sugar is much easier and quicker to absorb. It is pure energy and has no other nutritional value i.e. no vitamins or minerals. This can be described as “empty calories”

Having large amounts of sugar, especially fructose can lead to insulin resistance (source). But don’t worry, eating fructose in fruit is much less of a problem.

Eating too much sugar can be linked to cancer which is thought to be due to the constant need for the body to produce insulin (source).

Basically eating too much sugar causes people to gain weight.

Glycaemic Index

However – you don’t often eat sugar on it’s own. Usually it is combined with other ingredients which reduces the speed that it is absorbed into the blood.

It depends on what you eat as to the speed that glucose is absorbed into your blood. Free sugars on their own are high glycaemic index (GI). That is, if you consumed a sugary drink or a boiled sweet the sugar does not need to be broken down very much and can be absorbed really fast. However, if you add fat, protein or fibre it slows down the absorption rate. The slower it is absorbed, the lower GI it is. This graph shows how fast different carbohydrates are absorbed (source).

Potatoes.ai

Following a low GI diet can make you feel fuller for longer due to no sugar spikes and subsequent dips and often have the beneficial effects of other nutrients such as fibre.

What about fat?

As people have reduced their fat intake over the past 40-50 years the intake of sugar has increased. The food industry has had to increase sugar to improve the flavour. Unfortunately the original evidence that encouraged people to reduce fat in their diets was flawed. It is becoming more apparent from recent research that increasing fats, even saturated fat does not have an adverse affect (source). Increasing certain dairy products can even be beneficial (source).

Bottom line

Sugar is added to food to improve it’s flavour but it can lead to weight gain if consumed in large amounts.

Here’s my practical advice:

  • try to have sugar-free, low GI breakfast as it makes a huge difference with feeling hungry mid-morning and sets you up as you mean to go on.
  • eat low GI meals and snacks for the rest of the day
  • try to stick to the SACN guidelines above
  • occasional treats are fine but if you want to keep your blood glucose stable eat sweeter things after a meal

Personally, the major benefit I have found so far from removing added sugar from my diet is less hunger between meals. However, I will not continue completely in March, life is fairly drab without it, it’s quite inconvenient and I really like chocolate!

If you don’t know where to begin, I have a 7 day plan designed to get you going with stabilising your blood glucose, this features daily e-mails from me, a meal plan, recipes and a shopping list, you can find more information here.

Slow Cooker Vegan Butternut Squash Stew

Here’s the recipe for the stew that I posted a video of recently:

Click here for the video.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onions (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • a pack of butternut squash (frozen)
  • cup of lentils
  • tin of chick peas
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp bouillon or a stock cube
  • optional extras: sliced peppers/mushrooms/any other veg you fancy!

Method

  1. put all ingredients into your slow cooker and mix (or bash!), cook for 6 hours on high or 8-10 on low

It’s definitely worth a try as it’s so easy!

If you would like more healthy recipes like this then come over and like my facebook page: www.facebook.com/katerobertsnutrition.

Dairy Free Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake

One of the real problems of a dairy free diet is having food that tastes creamy. It is very difficult to recreate with cow’s milk free foods and often things can be very sweet. I developed this recipe to be free of cow’s milk and soya, savoury, creamy and very tasty!

If you’re living with a food allergy and would like to connect to others in the same position, do come over to Facebook and join my Food Allergy and Intolerance Facebook Community. We’re a friendly bunch!

Here’s the recipe:

Tuna Pasta Bake

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 red or white onion, chopped or 1 cup of frozen chopped onion
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped roughly or 1 cup of frozen, chopped mixed peppers (I had none in when I made mine this time but they’re a nice addition)
  • Pack of button mushrooms/3 large flat mushrooms, chopped or frozen
  • 1 cup of frozen sweetcorn
  • 2 tins of tuna in spring water
  • 250g wholemeal pasta
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ¾ pint milk alternative – oat milk works well
  • 2-3 tbsp cornflour

Method

  1. Fry the onions, mushrooms and peppers in the oil until soft then put in a large ovenproof casserole dish
  2. Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente then drain.
  3. Pour about 4 tbsps of alternative milk into the frying pan and add the cornflour, mix into a paste. Add the alternative milk into the frying pan slowly so you don’t get any lumps. Bring to the boil then simmer until thickened.
  4. Crumble the drained tuna into the casserole dish. Then add the stock cube, tomatoes, sweetcorn, cooked pasta and thickened white sauce. Mix it all together. Season with pepper.
  5. Bake at 200C, 180C (fan oven) for 30 minutes or until bubbling
  6. Serve with a green salad

img_1313

NB if you’re not dairy free you can use cow’s milk and add grated cheese on top at the end.

Remember, if you have any questions or just need some support check out the Food Allergy and Intolerance Facebook Community.

Enjoy!

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